The St. Louis Children’s Hospital Behavioral Health Unit is a place of safety and healing for kids experiencing mental health crises.

When your child is admitted, we have two goals:

  • Helping them through the immediate crisis
  • Equipping your family with skills and resources that could help prevent a future crisis

Our team of experts are specially trained to help kids cope with depression, anxiety, self-harm and thoughts of suicide. They’re also trained in de-escalation techniques. That means they have the skills to resolve behavioral issues without restraining or isolating patients.

Care Customized to Your Child 

On the unit, your child’s care will include a variety of activities customized to their age and needs. These activities are based on research about what helps kids learn to manage their emotions and cope with everyday situations. They may include the following, among others:

Most kids spend five to seven days on the unit, though your child’s stay may be longer or shorter depending on their needs. During this time, we’ll work closely with you and your child to develop a care plan for after they leave. The plan may include medications, outpatient therapy or other services in the community.

Learn more about what to expect when your child is on the unit.

Referring or Transferring a Patient

We admit patients between 5 and 17 years old who fit the following criteria:

  • Dealing with a mental health crisis
  • Able to participate in group activities 
  • Not in need of medical care for other serious conditions

If you’re a provider who would like to refer or transfer a patient to our unit, call Children's Direct at 800.678.HELP (4357).

Why Choose Us?

St. Louis Children’s Hospital is consistently ranked among the nation’s best pediatric hospitals by U.S. News & World Report, the most comprehensive source of quality-related information on U.S. pediatric hospitals. We follow one simple mission – to do what’s right for kids. That mission comes to life through medical discovery, innovative therapies and compassionate care.

Best Children's Hospitals

We offer world-class care to children thanks in part to generous gifts from hundreds of people who have joined us as Guardians of Childhood. This philanthropic support enabled us to fulfill our mission to do what's right for kids. Join us in making health care better for all children.

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